Newspaper rejects Clinton and Trump, endorses third-party candidate

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Major Newspaper Endorses Libertarian Gary Johnson for President

"Why not take this chance to reject the binary choice between Clinton and Trump that was created by our two-party system?"

The Richmond Times-Dispatch posed this question to its readers this weekend. In a sign of the times, the well-known Virginia newspaper has endorsed a third-party candidate — Libertarian Gary Johnson — for president.

SEE MORE: Full Interview: Newsy Sits Down With Libertarian Gary Johnson

Johnson apparently won the editorial board over when he met with it last week. The board wrote, "He's a man of good integrity, apparently normal ego and sound ideas. Sadly, in the 2016 presidential contest, those essential qualities make him an anomaly — though they are the foundations for solid leadership and trustworthy character."

Click through images of Gary Johnson through the years:

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Gary Johnson through the years
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Gov. Gary Johnson, former Governor of NM, speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson pretends to have a heart attack on stage while arguing in favor of legalization of marijuana during CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., not pictured, had just argued during their debate that marijuana caused an increased risk of heart attacks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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But Johnson's temperament isn't the only reason the paper decided to endorse him. Johnson has experience building a company and running a state. He was the two-term Republican governor of New Mexico with a Democrat-led legislature.

The paper has endorsed Republican presidential candidates since 1980. Though Johnson is a third-party candidate, the endorsement may not be all that surprising.

Johnson has called himself and running mate Bill Weld "fiscally conservative," which voters in the typically conservative Richmond suburbs would appreciate. However, critics have questioned whether Johnson is actually fiscally conservative — or even a libertarian.

He and Weld have also referred to themselves as "socially liberal," which doesn't necessarily appeal to more conservative voters but could be attractive to more liberal voters in the city.

Nevertheless, the paper said the duo's policy stances match up with its editorial creed.

It wrote, "We have over the years interviewed hundreds of politicians ... and there's no doubt that Johnson belongs in the major leagues ... He is a skilled and experienced leader, an able communicator, an intelligent man."

Richmond Times-Dispatch has also called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to allow Johnson to participate in the debates, saying that is the only way voters will be able to give him a fair shake.

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